Friday, October 28, 2016

A Blank Sheet Farid
Writers face this every day: a blank sheet. 

Often, this is followed by a blank stare.

Which is then followed by a robust cup of dark chocolate coffee. 

Advertisement aside, a blank sheet of paper seems like a small thing, yet that piece of parchment can bring a well-adjusted gal (well, fairly well-adjusted gal) to her knees in frustration and tears. 

And rightly so. The knees part, that is. Writing should bring me to my knees.

In prayer.

Not simply to seek God’s direction about writing a fresh article or story but to seek His direction for my day. 

My life is to be like a blank sheet of paper that I offer the Lord each morning. I simply sign my name at the bottom and hand the page over to Him to fill in whatever He wants. 

The optimal word here is surrender.

I choose to surrender to God’s plan for my day. This begins with a one-time commitment of my life to Him, but also involves a daily surrender to His leading. Instead of handing Him a page full of my plans, I hand Him a blank sheet so that He can fill in the details. 

This sacrificial offering is encouraged by the apostle Paul in Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (NIV). 

When I consider God’s tender mercy in providing His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to take what I rightfully deserve (eternal separation from Him in hell), I am drawn to my knees in gratitude. Clearly, it doesn’t make sense that a holy God would rescue a wretched sinner, yet in His mercy, grace, and love, He devised a rescue plan. As a result, I am saved, as are all who put their trust in God’s amazing provision—the Lord Jesus Christ (his death, burial, and resurrection—the gospel story that provides forgiveness of sin and eternal life. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

In light of God’s mercy, I gladly offer myself to Him. I immerse myself in the Word of God to renew my mind daily, to learn what to avoid, how to live in a world where Satan currently rules, how to grow up in Christ so that I can abandon my childish ways, how to minister to those around me, and how to hold fast to His promises until I see Him face to face. 

As I interact with Him daily through His Word and prayer, and bounce thoughts/questions off other godly believers, His will—the good, pleasing and perfect will—appears on the page.

The blank sheet I handed Him now fills with His assignments. 

I love it when this happens. Never a dull moment in God’s Kingdom!

Yet, this careful filling of the page does not come without megadoses of unhurried time in His presence.

Along with a willing heart and listening ear.

May my prayer always be, “Lord, I give You my life as a blank sheet. Fill it in as You desire.”

I pray this for you, too, dear reader.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Roadblocks, Brickwalls and Campfires

     by Carole Towriss
      Yesterday in church we had a guest speaker who was released from prison in January. He said that, at least where and when he went in, you were told exactly when you would be released with good behavior. Six weeks before he was to get out, he was given a letter stating there had been a clerical error and he had another seventeen months to serve.
     Obviously, he was devastated.
     God, however, had a plan. During those months, he was part a program that introduced him to Jesus. He surrendered his life, met his mentor, and when he got out had a purpose for his life.
     Things don't always go the way we want them to. We hit roadblocks--major roadblocks. Like Joseph-sold-to-Egypt roadblocks.
     But sometimes that's God working.
     The trick is to recognize God working in the midst of our pain. And that's not easy. I'm not sure Joseph recognized it that day, or the next, or that week. Maybe not until he saw his brothers asking for grain.
     But what he did do was continue to behave righteously, acting in accordance with God's law, in accordance with what had been revealed to him so far.
     That in and of itself can be a tall order sometimes, when the pain is great enough.
     I remember when we went to get Mira. What we (or at least I) expected to be a ten-day trip in-country turned out to be three weeks long.
     We were the first adoption in Kazakstan under the new laws. Ugly, ridiculous rumors abounded as to why Americans wanted their babies. We waited in our rented flat for days for her exit visa. Our facilitator, a beautiful woman named Svetlana, came back one day, again without it, asking for the pictures we had taken the day we met Mira, showing me crying. "I need happy-family pictures for the police chief."
     I wasn't exactly behaving like Joseph. After she left, I paced with Mira in my arms. "They're not going to let us leave with her. All this and they won't let us leave." I could only see a big, fat, brick wall.
     John just stared at me. "You're not going there, are you?"
     "Oh, I am already there. I have set up camp there. I have built a house there."
      Needless to say, Svetlana returned with the visa and we left two days later, and I don't believe anyone else had any trouble after that. Our next trip was over and done with in ten days, travel time included.
     The road blocks were necessary. They built up everyone's faith and trust. The officials', and definitely mine.
     The next time you see a brick wall, try instead to imagine what it is He might be protecting you from, or what better things He might be leading you to. I know it's hard, and I'm the least likely person to do just that. :)
     It's far easier to do that on the other side.

My novella The Other Brother is part of the #1 bestselling box set Falling for You, available now only on Amazon. Six brand-new, full-length heartwarming novellas for only 99¢. Join us on our Facebook party on October 25 from 5-9pm Eastern time, for lots of fun, chats with all six authors and giveaways!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Humbling to be Used & Divine Appointments

It is so humbling to be used by God. I went in (3 hours to DFW area from home in Clarksville, Texas) this past weekend to babysit my sixteenth grandsugar, Lillian Jane.  I know I’m prejudiced, but ally? Isn’t she the cutest? And I have NEVER--bar none—seen a better natured baby girl!

Little did I know God had a divine appointment in store for me!

Dear husband is tiling our floors and needed two more pieces to finish our master bath, so he asked if I had time to stop by Home Depot and pick some up as ours was out of stock. He gave me an item number from the box.  So when out shopping with Anna, my newest daughter-in-love, we went by.  She stayed in the car with sleeping Lilly, and I ran in.

A young man, Clinton Pack, helped me locate the ones I needed, showering me with grace for forgetting my little rip-off cardboard with the number. You see, he’d had a traumatic brain injury at age 19 (six years prior) so knew well about being forgetful. Well, of course I said something to glorify God, and he picked right up on it. Giving God praise for his life after being in a coma three months.

From there, the conversation only got better. He shared that he’d been keeping a journal since the accident and said I would be a part of that night’s entry…that the Lord had told him to write a book. At which time I mentioned that I was a Christian author! We both agreed that this was a divine appointment orchestrated by our awesome Almighty God! Tears and hugs followed!

One week and a day ago, THE BEDWARMER’S SON, my twenty-seventh title to be released, debuted! The reviews coming in are so overwhelming, bringing me to my face before the throne . Why does He give me such wonderful stories? Why did He choose me to show such favor in receiving the wonderful compliments coming in almost daily? I don’t deserve any of it, except that He loves me.

A synopsis of THE BEDWARMER'S SON: From the antebellum South, come travel the dusty trails of Jim Crowe Dalton, Georgia with slave and master, saint and sinner. See if God is really big enough, if He truly cares about His children. McAdoo has done it again, this time in a brand new way. A delightful morsel for the palates of Christian readers world round.  
  • One Amazon ‘Top 50’ reviewer said “Characters and story are tantalizingly revealed, Southern slow, like brewin’ sweet tea in the sun.” and “THE BEDWARMER’S SON” reaches my personal 6-star rating of delightful reading. Possibly McAdoo’s magnum opus to date, certainly a piece de resistance.”
  • Another reader shared “Characters are well developed and multi-dimensional. The story line kept me on the edge of my seat. …one of Caryl McAdoo’s finest books, the best of her best.”
  • And another “The Bedwarmer’s Son weaves together two romances to form a tale reminiscent of the great southern writers of the last century. More than a classic romance…”   
Do you have a chance meeting that you consider a divine appointment?
What has recently humbled you before the Lord?

Giveaway: The Bedwarmer' Son! To enter, comment below, and get one extra 'entry' for each friend you invite to "Stitches Thru Time" who also comments (be sure they say you invited them) and BOTH will win a copy! Don't miss the FREE BOOK for everyone just below - AT LIBERTY TO LOVE Link! 

Bio : Caryl McAdoo is all about loving God! She currently writes four series: the historical Christian ‘Texas Romance’; a contemporary ‘Red River Romance’; The Generations, her Biblical fiction, and the newest Days of Dread Trilogy for mid-grade readers. Known as the Singing Pray-er, she loves praising with new songs the Lord gives her and prays her story gives God glory! In 2008, she and her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-plus years—to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Besides glorifying Him, she hopes each title will also minister His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. Caryl and Ron live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State with two grandsons.

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